22 January 2013

Eats: ham and cheese puff pastry

Here I am, dear readers! I am... still sick. For the first time in probably a decade, I’ve had a fever for more than twenty-four hours (low-grade, but still, whaaa?). I’m actually writing to you seated on the floor, with the warm humidifier positioned between the laptop and me so I can inhale its sweet sweet vapors while I write to you. Mmm, moisture.

But aside from that pitiful image, I’m doing relatively well! With many thanks to Mr. P’s ministrations, countless cups of hot tea, gratuitous chapstick application, and multiple three-hour naps per day.

So let’s forget about that, and talk about something happy and delicious. Like this happy and delicious ham and cheese pastry! Crusty, fluffy puff pastry filled with gooey Gouda and goat cheese... oh goodness, yes yes yes.

This recipe comes from Joy the Baker, and she insists that quality, all-butter puff pastry is where it’s at. She may be right, but as a busy working lady who only has time to grocery shop in a single place, I went with the finest Schnucks had to offer: Pepperidge Farm.

I let the puff pastry (both sheets) thaw in the fridge before rolling it out on lightly floured parchment paper:

Pro tip: notice when you’re getting low on parchment paper so you’re not stuck trying to roll out two different sheets of puff pastry on your last scrap of parchment paper. Geez louise.

Once you’ve rolled out your pastry a bit, set one sheet aside and spread mustard on the other. I didn’t have fancy Dijon, so I went with some spicy brown we’ve had for ages.

I also didn’t use but a few tablespoons as I’m not a huge mustard fan, but you can add more if you like. With just a few tablespoons, the mustard was barely detectable.

Then I covered the pastry with sliced ham (about eight ounces) and little chunks of goat cheese (somewhere between one and two ounces):

Joy’s version uses Gruyere cheese, but instead, I used goat cheese (can you tell I’m in a serious goat cheese phase?) and... this stuff:

Gouda! My favorite cheese. I could eat this stuff by the pound. But I only used three-quarters of this package, six ounces total.

I entertained myself by artfully placing the gouda in an arrangement designed to guarantee each bite would be deliciously gouda-filled:

Then I topped it all with the second sheet of puff pastry, smooshing the edges together first with my fingers:

And then with a fork, to make it all fancy-like.

Then... I covered it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge overnight. Because this is totally a make-ahead dish! Take note for your next brunch, ehh?

But of course, you can also go right ahead to the next steps: brush the top of the pastry with egg (just crack an egg and beat in with a fork a few times before brushing it on) and slash the top with a knife to create a few vents:

Then pop the whole thing in a preheated 400-degree oven for twenty-five minutes.

When it’s done... oh goodness, when it’s done....

Congratulations. You have just made the world’s largest, fanciest Hot Pocket.

(No judgment! I am all about the world’s largest, fanciest Hot Pocket.)

I thought this was the most delicious thing I’d eaten in a long time. I think I literally closed my eyes and sighed when I took the first bite. Mr. P, on the other hand, declared that it was “too cheesy” which is ridiculous because we all know there is absolutely no such thing.

Whatevs. More for meeee!

This made eight generous portions, which I ate for dinner... then breakfast... then lunch... annnnd repeat. It’s best straight out of the oven, but even reheating it in the microwave makes it good any time of day! Plus it’s easy to remix to your liking – if you’re a vegetarian, I bet this would be delicious with tomatos and basil leaves in place of the ham. And of course, as I said, if you’re in the market for a make-ahead brunch dish to serve company, or a quick appetizer you can pop in the oven between work and the party, this is your dish.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wipe the humidifier condensation from my eyelashes. Enjoy!


Shanna said...

Russell thought this looked wonderful, so off I go to list the ingredients on my grocery list!